We tried Del Taco's meatless Beyond Taco — and it revealed why vegan substitutes are sweeping fast food

Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderDel Taco is celebrating the recent debut of its Beyond Meat taco as one of its most successful new menu item launches.
  • Del Taco debuted the meatless Beyond Taco in April, in partnership with meat-substitute company Beyond Meat.
  • Business Insider taste-tested the Beyond Taco soon after it hit menus nationwide.
  • Del Taco’s Beyond Taco is a delightful fast-food taco – nothing less, nothing more.

Vegan meat substitutes are sweeping the fast-food industry.

Burger King is rolling out the Impossible Whopper across America. Chains including Tim Hortons and Little Caesars have recently announced deals with Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. And, Del Taco is celebrating its recent debut of the Beyond Taco as one of its most successful new menu item launches.

Read more:
Del Taco’s vegan Beyond Meat taco is on track to become one of the chain’s most successful new menu item launches ever

“Since launching 11 days ago, we are very encouraged by increases in both check and traffic, as this new product platform is bringing in many new or lapsed users and appealing to regular Del Taco guests, who are all eager to sample our Beyond Taco offerings,” CEO John Cappasola told investors earlier in May.

Business Insider had the chance to taste-test the Beyond Taco soon after it hit menus at Del Taco locations across the US.

Here is how the vegan taco tastes:

Del Taco serves two tacos made with Beyond Meat products: the Beyond Taco, which simply substitutes ground beef for plant-based proteins, and the vegan, cheese-free Beyond Avocado Taco.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Both tacos look like they could fit in among Del Taco’s fast-food fare. Neither is aiming to be a gourmet Tex-Mex product — just a standard taco sans meat.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Frankly, if we didn’t know that the Beyond Taco uses a mixture of plant-based ingredients instead of beef, we would not have even noticed that difference.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

While it can be difficult to capture the texture of a steak or burger, Beyond Meat handily imitates the goopy yet granular mouthfeel of taco meat.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

In terms of flavour, it hits all the important benchmarks, capturing the spice and mix of crunch and mush that have won fast-food hardshell tacos a legion of fans.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

The Beyond Taco, in particular, captures the classic Del Taco flavour with the mellow — almost bland — cheesy topping.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

The Beyond Taco is a perfect representation of where meat substitutes are going in 2019. They aren’t an upscale replacement toppling fast-food infrastructure in favour of gourmet, vegan options.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are providing meat substitutes that infiltrate the existing fast-food ecosystem. And, the Beyond Taco succeeds in being a fast-food taco — nothing less, nothing more.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

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